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No-Spend November Challenge

Are you looking to do a no-spend November challenge to save money? Awesome! In this article I am going to share how to do a no-spend November challenge in order to save money quickly to pay for Christmas expenses, pay off debt, or save for other purchases or expenses.


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How to Do a No-Spend November Challenge

There are a lot of great benefits to doing a no-spend November. One of the main ones is that it can allow you to have a debt-free Christmas!

Christmas is right around the corner, and if you haven’t been saving up for it throughout the year (but you totally should next year; click the link just above to learn 5 simple steps on how!), you may be wondering how you are going to pay for all the gifts and festivities. You may even be a little stressed about it, especially if finances are a little tight this year.

But no fear—by participating in the no-spend November money challenge with me and my family, you can save up a lot of the money that you will need to go toward your Christmas shopping—in fact, you might be able to have it all saved up by Cyber Monday. (Or Black Friday—if you prefer that shopping day.)

A no-spend challenge has the potential not only to help you save money (sometimes a lot of money) but it can also really help you change the way you look at money and potentially even change your whole financial future. So let’s talk about a no-spend November and how to accomplish it.


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What is a no-spend challenge?

A no-spend challenge is where you go for a week, two weeks, or even a month or more either without spending any money or without spending money on anything besides the bare essentials or without spending money in a particular category.

When doing a typical no-spend challenge, you could start with a one-week no-spend challenge the first time, and then do two weeks, and then go for a whole month. Or if you really want to turbocharge your savings and short-circuit your spending habits, you could go all in and start with a one-month no-spend challenge. Or, as mentioned earlier, you could do a no-spend challenge in just a particular category, if you have a particular budget-busting area such as clothing or entertainment.


How do I participate in the no-spend challenge?

For this no-spend November challenge, let’s see if you can go until Thanksgiving weekend without spending money on anything but the necessities. So use food from your cupboards, pantry, fridge, and freezer. Don’t buy any clothes or toys. Don’t eat at any restaurants or order pizza or takeout. Don’t spend any money on entertainment. Don’t spend any money that you don’t absolutely have to.

Tip: Need some ideas for free fall activities for you and the kids? Read this article with more than 100 ideas for fall family fun.

And then start to see the Christmas (or other) savings start to add up. If you don’t have a Christmas fund set up all ready, then set one up now. If you don’t have a bank or credit union that lets you easily open multiple savings accounts, then check out an online bank like Capital One 360. We’ve been banking with Capital One 360 for close to 15 years (since they were still ING Direct), and even after the purchase by Cap One, they’ve still been a great bank.

We’ve never had any problems with them, and the couple of times when I’ve had a minor issue with an account (due to my user error 😊) they’ve resolved it in a matter of minutes with a simple phone call. They also have one of the best savings interest rates around.

If you want to grow your Christmas fund or other savings even faster, look for things around the house that you can sell. You might have sports equipment, electronics, toys, clothes, cookware, or other items that you could sell at a garage sale, through the online classifieds or Craigslist, or on eBay.


What are the benefits of a no-spend November?

There are many awesome benefits of doing a no spend November. One benefit of a no-spend challenge is that doing it can you save a significant amount of money. But an even bigger benefit is that it can also help you to break money habits that you want to give up.

Say, for example, that you have gotten into the habit of buying clothes every week online at Target. Or toys for the kids. Or you’ve gotten into the habit of stopping at the store nearly every day after work for just “one or two things,” and then you inevitably leave the supermarket or big box store with more than you planned.

All of that frequent or maybe even nearly constant shopping, even if it’s not a bunch of money at one time, will really bust your budget. But you can change your financial course more quickly than you think if you’ll get serious. And a great way to do that is with a no-spend challenge.

Are you ready to really reset your financial habits? Then do a no-spend money challenge and begin to change your life today!

How much money can I save during the no-spend November?

The amount of money you can save during a no-spend November challenge depends on how long you choose to do the no-spend challenge for and how much you normally spend during that time. But let’s imagine that you’ve decided to go all in, and so you’re going to reduce all spending except for monthly bills like rent or mortgage and utilities and cell phone and fuel for your cars and such, as well as essential foods like some fresh produce.

And let’s say you’re a family of four and that in a given month that you typically spend $600 on groceries, $200 on gas, $200 on entertainment, $100 on clothes, $100 on eating out, and $100 on stuff for the kids and other miscellaneous household items or other purchases. And let’s say that you decide to eat what’s in your fridge, freezer, and cupboards and pantry and save $400 on groceries, you cut down on your driving to save $100 on gas, and then you spend nothing on entertainment, clothes, or eating out for the month.

So you could save $1,000 during that no-spend November! And that awesome amount of money you just saved can become your Christmas fund. And guess how much the average American family spends on Christmas? A little over $900. So we just paid for your Christmas! Score!


Tips to Make Your No-Spend November Successful

Here are some pointers that can help ensure that you have a successful no-spend November.

First, be sure to plan what you will do about the Thanksgiving holiday. I realize that with Thanksgiving coming at the end of the month you’re probably going to need to buy some things for that holiday, as well, such as items for Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re in the habit of hosting a big, lavish Thanksgiving, would you consider doing a potluck-style meal this year, where you ask everyone who comes to bring something? That will cut the cost significantly.

And if you generally fly to see family or drive long distances, you might want to consider staying closer to home this year. (Especially if you have nonmortgage debt, please do consider staying close by in order to save money—money that you might use toward paying off your debt! Woo hoo!)

Now, I’d also love to encourage you to spend less than $1,000 on Christmas and to put the additional money you don’t spend toward other financial priorities and goals. (You can be sure we’ve never spent anywhere close to that amount on Christmas, and the idea of spending that much for one day—though a very important day, but not because of all the shopping and buying that goes on and the giving and receiving of gifts that occurs—makes me a little woozy. You can read this article for 11 simple ideas (all things that we ourselves also do) to save big on Christmas expenses.


How can I succeed in doing a no-spend November money challenge?

It probably won’t be as hard as you might think to be able to succeed at your no-spend challenge. First, if you do a full no-spend challenge, you will need to get organized and do some meal planning. But you should do that anyway! Sign up for my handy meal planning worksheet below!

And you will probably need to get creative with your meal planning, if you decide (as I would recommend you do) to cut your grocery budget during that time. You can of course search online for some great ideas for recipes that have the ingredients you have on hand that you are trying to use up, or you can just wing it and see what concoctions you can create. You’ll likely even find some new family favorites!

You can even make the no-spend November into a game, to help keep things from getting too serious. With your family, once you have determined a goal for how much you want to plan to save, see how quickly you can do it or if you can even exceed your savings goal—or even better, do both! And then maybe give yourselves an inexpensive reward—like going out for inexpensive ice cream, or buying a variety of toppings and making homemade banana splits.

Other than that, being successful with your no-spend November mostly requires just staying out of stores and restaurants and movie theaters and so forth and staying offline. Figure out what your triggers are for spending money, and then set yourself up for success by avoiding those trigger points.

Setting and then working toward your financial goals and dreams will also help you stay on track to reduce your spending. When you know what your financial priorities and goals are, it’s easier to stay the course and keep your resolve to go for a time without spending because you know that whatever you might be giving up now is a small sacrifice compared to the big financial goals you can reach if you will stay strong and follow through.

Also work on finding new hobbies and activities that don’t cost money or that don’t cost a lot of money. For ideas, see this huge list of more than 90 free activities you can do during a no spend challenge

What else can I do to start to get a handle on my financial situation?

In addition to doing a no-spend challenge, you should create and start to follow a budget or spending plan. I know that sometimes budgets have negative emotions attached to them, but a spending plan or budget is simply where you tell your money where you want it to go. It’s that simple. You control the budget, so that your spending won’t control you. See this article for more information on how to create your first budget. And learn how to stick to a budget here.

As you work to get your financial life in order, you should start tracking your spending. Sign up for the free expense tracking and budget forms below! 


The Save Your Money, Change Your Life 7-Day Challenge

To learn how to start getting control of your finances and really start winning with money, take my free financial success course, Save Your Money, Change Your Life. In this course you will learn how to earn more, save more, spend less, and invest more in order to right your financial ship, gain financial stability, and work toward building prosperity and wealth.

Final Thoughts on No Spend November

Maybe the idea of doing a no-spend November is a little daunting—but you can do it! And when you do, it really could change the way you look at money and even change your whole life. It will strengthen your resolve to make positive financial changes in your life. Most things in life that are worth achieving require a little hard work or sacrifice, or both, and winning with your money is no different. But the rewards are so worth it!

Changing your money habits so that you really succeed with your finances will have a bigger impact than most other things in your life. So the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll reach the finish line! Get ready, get set, go!

And I’ll help you all along the way! Leave a comment below or post a comment in our Facebook group. I can’t wait to see the great things that you will accomplish with your money!

Are you ready to do a no spend November? What questions do you have? Have you done a no spend challenge before? How did it go? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Invitation to Share

 Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help a family member or friend or people in general? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being with others. Thank you!

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Join our new, closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.